Print and Apply Labeling Systems: Look Out for These Red Flags

print and apply labeling systems red flagsMaximizing your uptime with print and apply labeling system production is often the prime objective to ensure volume targets are met and avoid chinks in the  supply chain. Toward this end, keeping equipment functioning at a peak level is mission critical. This makes it imperative to watch for signs that your print and apply labeling system may not be operating properly. If spotted early, the problems can be addressed immediately so the downtime is minimized.

Here are a few red flags that can help you address concerns before they become major production problems.

Does the label print properly?
When a label is not printing properly, there are a number of factors that can be checked out to pinpoint the source of the problem. It could be that the image is not downloading properly to the print engine, which can be fixed from the operator’s end. If this is good, it is time to move onto the mechanical factors. The first place to check here is whether or not the print head is in good working order. Another reason why the label is not printing properly could be a misalignment between the label material and ribbon combination, so this may need to be corrected.

Does the label advance out to the labeling head?
If the label does not advance out to the labeling head, there could be a number of reasons that will need to be addressed. First, check to see if the label material is properly webbed through the unit. If it’s not, this will need to be corrected. Second, look at whether or not the label being driven over the peel plate by the drive roller and does the label release from the carrier liner at the peel plate. Again, this will need to be fixed. Third, the label may not be advancing because the vacuum of the print head applicator is not working properly allowing for the label to be picked up. Each of these will require adjustments that should then help the label advance out to the labeling head.

Does the label get applied to the case?
A third red flag is the fact that a label is not getting applied to the case. Check to see if the vacuum of the print head applicator is working properly. If it has a tamp applicator, make sure the tamp extends all the way out. Or, if it is a tamp/blow applicator, the tamp should extend out all the way and the applicator should be reversing the air and blowing the label on. If it is a direct apply system, then check that the label is being flagged out far enough for the case to pick it up. Any of these issues can be rectified fairly easily so production can continue.

Is the label placed in the proper location?
If the label is not being placed in the proper location, this is a red flag. To fix this issue, make sure the print delay signal is properly set, that the label is being properly picked up by the labeling head and the product sensor is “reading” the item as it goes by and properly signaling the labeling head. If not, adjustments will be necessary.

In Review
Here are the main red flags to look for with print and apply labeling systems:

  • The label is not printing properly.
  • The label is not advancing out to the labeling head.
  • The label is not getting applied to the case.
  • The label is not placed in the proper location.
  • Each of these red flags has a number of factors that can be checked for the necessary adjustments to ensure production continues as planned.

About Jim Umbdenstock

Jim is a business executive with over two decades of experience in the packaging product identification field via printing, coding and labeling of primary or secondary packages through the pallet level.

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